air quotes staff cuts. Let’s just say there’s been a lot of hasty internal reorganization following a certain unfortunate dinner party >__> I also hope this explains the biggest question in this chapter so far, “why is that sandwich so weird.” The answer is because Rudy is a camp chef/not a professional sandwich engineer, and because the previous kitchen staff was definitely executed.

I’ve been working on this page so long I can’t even stand looking at it anymore, haha.

THANK YOU to folks who stopped by to say hello last weekend at SVCC! I had copies of the book with me, which is awesome because the book is finally going out to backers all over the place!!! US backers should have all received their books (if I got your addresses before the cutoff… next round soon) and international orders are going out very soon. I’ll hopefully be getting out my personalized orders by early May as well~ You can check out all the happy backers and their celebratory photos in this collection! (warning: many cute dogs and cats (and one stuffed armadillo))

For folks that missed the Kickstarter, I’ll begin selling books pretty much after the Kickstarter people have got theirs, likely end of May. I’ll probably kick off the online sales with some limited/ special packages, so if you’d like to be in the know as soon as that info is available, you can put your email on the list for that news! I will also be at Vancaf with copies if you are going to that in a few weeks~

Anyways I’m in the middle of drawing a million things and convention stuff and freelance and a new comic and etc etc so my schedule is a bit fucky at the moment, but a new tutorial will be out tomorrow for Patrons and I’ve got a lot of Patreon backlog stuff to post (I’ll link it here when it’s up). Just… like yeah I’m p much just doing my thing, and also planning for Ch6 since we’re only a few pages away. BUT FIRST finish this scene, haha. I’d better get back to it.


  • Uh Oh, you mentioned death… I think Hyla is going to have a little breakdown now!

  • James

    Who’s the lady in the fur coat in panel 3? I’d swear she’s smiling as Luca builds up steam.

    That just struck me as significant.

  • I see a little heat coming from your hands, Luca. How many gloves has he gone through since Phe died?

    • Spark

      Oooh, nice catch, I had to zoom in a little to see that.

    • J.A Kooistra

      I bet there’s a imperial museum of burned gloves somewhere. It’s next to the imperial museum of lost left socks (which, naturally, only contains right socks).

  • Quix

    Ohhhh my god no.

    What a mess.

  • Vara

    I can’t help but be reminded of Holly Blue Agate from Steven Universe when looking at Tesca

    • Peregrine

      It’s not just you…

  • Toozday's Child

    “Staff Cuts”? Is that what we’re calling political purges these days?

  • Derkasnake

    Just one minor mistake I noticed, though it (hopefully) shouldn’t get anyone killed..

    ‘Must I personally give every order for this organization to functioning?’

    Keep up the great work, can’t wait for my book. :)

    • DukeBG

      That’s not a mistake, that’s how Luca talks when agitated. Bad grammar of this non-native for him language.

      • Derkasnake

        Ah, sorry.

  • Enrique262

    Man, the tone of this comic is all over the place.

    • Eh, I’d argue it’s been consistently serious with humorous overtones.

      • Enrique262

        Page 9 and 10 of this chapter are a perfect example of the extreme tonal shifts this comic goes through from page to page.

        • Well, yeah XD But again, it’s sort of been that way through the entire comic. And in MI, I suppose.

    • Edgar M Lemos

      Uh? It seems to me that the tonal shifts are perfectly justified by the character the scene is focusing on. Suda’s scenes are goofy, Rana’s are melancholic, Luca’s are… a bit frightening.

      • Shweta

        It’s a weird crit, especially of this particular comic, especially right now when it feels note-perfect to me. I’m… wondering it the commenter has any experience of people dealing with a disaster, because if they don’t then yeah, it could seem all over the map maybe. That’s how people are when pushed too hard.

        What I see in this chapter especially is a super consistent emotional tone — a fragile public face, which varies with the main characters, but in every case with grief/pain/rage/helplessness pushing through from underneath. Which is also filtered through their different ways of thinking, but the emotional tone implied in all these different ways feels *so* consistent to me that I’ve been thinking of it as theme and variations on grief.

        And to me, the first 10 pages of this chapter are tonally perfect for a grieving child. So it’s extra weird to me for that to be called an extreme tonal difference. Is it *not* obvious to everyone except Rana that Hyla was building up to the biggest meltdown on the planet and Rana was making it worse?

        …Maybe it’d also be unclear to me if I hadn’t dealt just as badly with a small angry-grieving child myself? I dunno.

        • Shweta

          (As badly as Rana I mean, not as badly as Luca, he’s making Rana’s childcare skills look great atm)

  • Luces

    Small wonder the household is in turmoil: You can neither cook nor rear a child simply by order. Similarly, during Maos cultural revolution, any kind of knowledge was persecuted – “the party provides everything.” It took hundreds of thousands peoples lifes and happiness.
    Also, it is said that the toll of twenty million dead Russians wouldn’t have been so high if Stalin had spared a thought to the welfare of his people; instead of ironing out even pressing needs, people in his surrounding were simply glad to survive the next day, never risking his unpredictable ire.
    Luca is well on the way to this kind of mad dictatorship. Not once does he speak to his daughter directly or is indicating any kind of welcome to her. Seems that even his children have become to him mere toys of his whim, to be ordered around – just a small step to finding them disposable!

    • ErictheTolle

      Well he DID ask her why she was out of bed, but that was just a prequel to his rant. I wonder how many people are going to be purged for this.

    • Not agreeing on the last part. It seems to me he is /unable/, not /unwilling/ to be a good parent. Luca is a victim of his own temperament – and I’m sure a certain tiger-thing is involved, too.

    • Spaulding

      I don’t think he sees his children as toys. He’s bad at connecting with them on an emotional level for sure not to mention that the thing with his hands makes it hard for him to provide any physical comfort to anyone. I do think he cares about his children considering his outburst. He comes off more afraid to lose more family. Especially with that last panel showing Phe’s portrait.

  • Dan market

    he is not wrong, this guy was pretty dumb in picking someone, and it is his daughter running around unobserved/protected.

    • Dan market

      In the end he will probably overreact, and kill someone. Yet to be fair he has every reason to be furious, kinda his fault for firing prior staff, but the kids mother was just assassinated. This shows an astonishing amount of ineptitude on the part of the attendant, and a significant amount of danger for his daughter. Could be there are things we do not know about yet to play into this, but right now it seems he is completely justified in being furious….until he kills someone anyway.

      • David

        Firing, yes. FIRE-ing.

        • apgeek

          Firing by a firing squad, I guess.

          • Dan market

            The implication was not lost, truly I hope he does not, but we shall see.

  • Seth

    Wow, that last panel has so many astounding visual metaphors, one could almost write a paper on it. The painting of Phe is most interesting. Luca is standing directly in the haze of smoke at the bottom of the painting, distancing him from his late wife.

    The framing of Luca as a lone figure in a roomful of people. The underlying flame of the candles. The burning gloves. Luca shouting “and these are mistakes that get people killed!” against the backdrop of of the painting of Phe…

    My mind is running wild with everything the framing of that scene is suggesting.

    Der-shing, that’s my favorite panel you’ve drawn. It says so much. Its composition is near-renaissance level.

    • David

      Yeah, I thought the row of candles seemed significant. Because of the page’s layout, it’s the last thing your eyes see.

      I could picture a filmmaker using the candles as a transition. You see his hands getting hot, and then the camera focuses on the candles and the scene fades out, implying that a character is about to get fried.

    • Brian

      I really really like that last panel.

  • Talk about Over Reacting. I see Dagre making a comeback soon.

  • JJ

    Is Luca gonna do a Zuko with the candles + his rage?

  • David

    I see a lot of smoke damage at the bottom of that painting, roughly at the height of Luca’s shoulders. Could be that his burny hands have been getting a lot of exercise recently.

  • David

    Question for you, Der-shing: it sounds cold when Luca tells Hyla it’s “Pleasant to see you”. Would the characters also find this a bit cold? Or is it just that Basori fathers tend to address their children more formally? Or, perhaps, is it Luca’slack of fluency in the language?

    • No, he’s just very awkward around his kids. He basically doesn’t ever talk to them unless he has to. Obviously it varies from person to person, esp nowadays with more cultural mixing, but in traditional Pasori culture the fathers tend to interact more with the sons and the mothers attend to all the children and are mostly responsible for the daughters. Luca doesn’t really have that traditional upbringing tho so this is all on him.

      • tangled_z

        Damn, the level of detail you put into your world-building is astounding!

  • TorgueRND

    Painting: “Well that’s a bit on the nose, isn’t it?”
    Candle fires: “I know, right?”

    • Andreas

      Lol, terrible ;)

  • luca calm urself ur going set thhis place on fire one of these days

  • Owlmirror

    Looking at panel 2 — it has been literally years, so maybe I misremember, but wasn’t there something about how Luca is missing some teeth?

    (archive trawl)

    Ah, I see — he wears dentures in public (comic page 201, from August 2009!!)

    • Kent

      If you look closely at panel 2, you can see that Luca’s top front teeth are slightly yellower than the rest. I wonder how many other subtle details are in this comic…

      • lol… thank you for noticing my anal details

  • TimesNewLogan

    That’s a nice painting, but it’s probably not as important as those candles…

    Speaking of which: five candles, five royals, but all of them are lit. Shing, you missed your chance for symbolism!

    • lol, I think that would have been a bit much XD (If it wasn’t already)

      • TimesNewLogan

        There is no such thing as too much symbolism! I am an endless barrel of symbolism! Must have more symbolism!

  • Andreas

    I do hope those candles were lit Before his outrage…
    I love the transition between these two pages. It’s also an understandable level of ‘over’reaction. Well done :)

  • zellgato

    Says the guy whose “removing staff” with scary regularity

  • Carolyn

    Can’t help but agree with Luca a little here. Yeah, if he ends up executing someone it will be overkill, but Hyla is just a little kid in addition to being a member of the royal family. She can’t be allowed to run amok without some kind of guardian. Never mind the fact that the country is at war and she could get killed or abducted by a spy, she could get hurt just wandering into the kitchens or armory.

    Also, I get the feeling that if Luca does overreact and hurt someone over this, poor Hyla will end up blaming herself. :<

    • David

      My call is that Hyla will run away to Caris.

  • tinwhistlings

    I love the deSadar’s and this has been one of my fav chapters! That said I’m also really psyched for Ch6 because I MISS YOU SOLI

  • Crestlinger

    Yes, yes you do that’s what it means to be a dictator. You have to personally take care of Everything. Equally that’s why they crack because, unless you thrive on micromangement, the stress will kill you sure as a bullet to the head.

  • ceceoh

    See, Hyla. It’s all fun and games until somebody gets beheaded.

  • Edhelith

    Is Phe’s painting unfinished? :(

  • I have to tell you something right now before I forget. I just came back from GOTG2, and before it ran the trailer for Pirates of the Carribean 5. There was one shot, a flashback, of a young Jack Sparrow, and a passing shot of a younger Villain Pirate. I swear the first thought that jumped into my head was Luca. I thought, wait, isn’t that from another series? How was he in here? And then I remembered that the Meek is a comic, and not in any way related. The actor’s a bit oblong, a bit taller, as Luca’s more of a mass of angry little pentagons. But it still struck me, and I thought about your comic, which made my night. (well, and the baby Groot.)

  • thegriffin88

    Whaddya mean weird? That was a chicken parm! Y’all ain’t never had a chicken parm sandwich before?

  • Alan

    Welp, hopefully he’s burned himself out by the time that he deals with Suda’s little accident with the tank.

  • Fleece

    What a good dialogue. I love how well you convey information with the uh, the, the, “staff cuts” bit.

  • Arianwen

    Hey shing, will you be selling some hardbacks after the Kickstarter, or will all of them be paperbacks? I left it too late to order (because I am an idiot and was scared of overseas fees) but I still plan to buy one.

    • Sorry for the lateass reply! Hardcovers are going to be a convention-only item EXCEPT for very limited flash sales for special occasions… if you want to get a head’s up on when those are coming down the pipes, I’d suggest signing up for the general mailing list since I’ll be posting those there.

  • kate

    can’t believe luca’s kinks-shaming

  • Sarah

    The anticipation is killing me!

  • Laurence

    It was great to meet you, and thanks for the signed copy of your book at Vancaf. :) (The tall dude with the Decepticon cap that day)

  • David

    You mentioned you were working on a new comic- can you tell us the name?

    Also, it’s been a month since this one last updated.

    • Not yet! But it’s a horror comic. I am also working on creating a new anthology project right now, that’ll be announced in the next month or so :o

  • Why have you not updated? Sorry I don’t know anything.

    • Sorry Jack! I just updated, but mostly the answer is being really busy with conventions/ side project/ the other webcomic. I wrote more in the recent comics newsbox.

  • Curious

    Is this comic dead?

    • Never dead~ There’s no reason to worry about me not working on the comic unless I literally die. When I take unexpected pauses it’s because I got swamped with work and then too ashamed to come look at my comments section here because I feel bad.

  • Cres

    very nice framing in that last panel.

  • Jordan179

    Having lost his wife, Luca is terrified at the thought of losing his youngest daughter as well. Understandable.

    I love the look of utter panic that he showed through his anger. Makes his motivation obvious without stating it too explicitly.

  • cue

    Panel 6 is amazing! the lit candles at the bottom and the painting in the middle. It’s soooo good. It’s like the panel is a little piece of Luca himself.

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